And it came to pass that Shrill Krugthulhu rose from the Keynesian depths to fight the dreaded ALEC, the Lobbyist With A Thousand Bills, all eerily similar and wholly devoted to privatizing the hell out of local and state governments in the name of darkness and creating Stand Your Ground laws all over the place. Thus, mighty Krugthulhu became Tired Of This Nonsense and spake:
What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.
Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.
What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.
And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.
But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it’s the same old story — the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It’s neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along.
And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren’t just about generating immediate benefits to the organization’s corporate sponsors; they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.
And lo, Krugthulhu was uninvited from even more Sensible Centrist Villager cocktail parties, which was a relief for the Villagers because to gaze upon Krugthulhu’s awesome beard was to behold sanity itself, something the Villagers were simply not equipped to deal with. Meanwhile, the forces of ALEC skittered away from the light to cause chaos in November…
Seriously guys, pretty much every single evil-ass piece of legislation that seems to end up across all the red and purple states at once since 2009: Arizona’s “Papers, please!” immigration law, Texas’s transvaginal ultrasound law, the personhood movement in Mississippi, Wisconsin’s union attack, Florida’s private prisons, and Ohio’s heartbeat abortion law, and gun laws like Stand Your Ground all have ALEC’s ugly fingerprints all over them. Karoli over at Crooks and Liars has been bulldogging these guys for months now. The playbook is simple: send everything to the state legislature, the Supreme Court or to the” Tyranny of the Majority” constitutional referendum route, or all three, until they win. If they don’t, do it again. Eventually it becomes a “public groundswell” of the people “clamoring” for this stuff.
And always attack, attack, attack.